Sunday, June 29, 2014

Pondering vacations and time

It is the last morning of my vacation and I sit here contemplating this past week.  We didn't take a trip or travel any place new.  It was one of those "staycations" they talk about on the TV and radio.

Could it have been any better?  Only if it had been longer.

We moved at our own pace with no expectations.  Some days were busy and others slow and quiet.  We visited family.  We played putt putt and ate ice cream.  We hiked and gardened and weeded.  We sat and watched hummingbirds feed at the pretty purple flowers.  We saw a mama deer and her two fawns play in our yard.  We went to a favorite winery and the next day played with our niece.  We read books and played cards.

There was more I wanted to do.  A sewing project sits untouched on my desk.  The barns I hoped to photograph haven't been.  The oven is still dirty and the garage is still messy.

But I had time.  Maybe not enough, there is never enough.  I had time to move, or not move, at my own pace.  I wasn't constricted by work schedules and obligations.  And that was a perfect vacation.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Not in the two percent!

After waiting almost two weeks for the results and a number of nagging calls on my part, I found out yesterday that everything came back negative in the biopsy.  With there being an only 2% chance of it being cancer, that was the news we were expecting and hoping to hear.  But, with my luck and family history, you just never know.

Thank you Jesus!

And thank you for all of your prayers!  I should have asked for them sooner.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

More Than He Was Looking For

Himself  was on the patio taking a picture of a Hummingbird feeding at one of our bushes.

Something made him look up and he saw this.  Such a treat!  Eagles are still not a very common sight by us.

Sometimes you just have to look up.


Monday, June 23, 2014

A missed opportunity

Two weeks ago I went for my annual mammogram.  After the technician had the radiologist look at the initial scans she came back to the room where I waited and said that I need to talk to him.  On one side there were spots that weren't there last year.

Given my family history, we lost mom to ovarian cancer almost six years ago, he thought this was something that should be look at further.  The cluster of small spots were most likely calcium deposits, he told me, by looks of their shape and size.  I had two options.  The first was to wait six months and see if they grew.  The other was to have them biopsied.

I don't know about you, but the thought of letting something bad continue to grow inside me, not knowing what it is, bothered me.  So, the radiologist along with my doctor arranged to have the  biopsy scheduled.

I told Himself that I didn't want to talk about it with anyone.  I thought my sister and her husband had enough to worry about with her bad back situation.  And why get Dad and my in-laws upset for no reason? 

Well, we know how that turned out.  I had a hissy fit with God.

When Fr. Ed visited on Sunday evening, Himself still kept my confidence and didn't say anything.

The biopsy was last Monday.  It was supposed to be as painless as these things can possibly be, which I suppose it was.  A combination of nerves and the weird position I was in during the test made it difficult for me to catch my breath and I had a bit of a panic attack.  Let's just say this was an experience that I don't wish to repeat.

On Sunday, walking back to our pew after communion, it hit me.  Had I told Fr. Ed what was going on, he could have prayed and/or anointed me.  Had I told Sis and other family and friends, they could have prayed as well. 

I think it was stubborn pride that I didn't want to say anything to anyone.  I can handle this on my own.  Yeah right!  I was a ball of nerves for several days (see above hissy fit) and it put a lot of pressure on Himself.    

We haven't gotten the results of the test back yet.  I was told it would take seven to ten days.  From the research I've done on the net, there is only about a two percent chance that it is actually cancer.

So I bring it to you, my friends.  Can you say a prayer? 


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

In the garden with Mary (part 1)

When we first bought this house ten years ago there was a garden out back that the previous owners had called the “moon garden.”  All the plants had either white flowers or silvery gray-green foliage.  Supposedly, during a full moon the garden was supposed to glow.

It was all a bit too new-agey for me, so when the garden became overgrown with thistle and Queen Anne’s lace I decided to reclaim it.  It soon became our Mary Garden with plants invoking images from her life.

The last week I spent a lot of time in that garden weeding, moving plants around, adding a couple of new roses and mulching.  I always seem to find a lot of inspiration when I am working in that garden, much more so there than in any of my others.

Some of it is insightful and some I’d just rather not hear.  This last week was full of both.  As I think about it all I think I need to go over it in reverse order.

Saturday morning Himself and I had a discussion that really annoyed me.  It wasn’t anything terrible.  In fact, much of what we talked about was Himself wanting to encourage me about the writing I like and want to do.  But I was annoyed and upset, so rather than say something I would probably regret, I went out to the garden to finish what I had started earlier in the week.

As I was working I was wallowing in self-pity, a bit overwhelmed by some of the things that have been occurring in the last few weeks.  I kept telling God that they (whoever that might be) want too much from me.  “They” need more than I have to give.

Now, get this.  No one is demanding anything of me.  It is more my feeling of needing to do “stuff.”  That stuff is either trying to live up to what I perceive as someone’s expectations of me or living up to my expectations of myself.

On Saturday morning I moaned that it was more than I had to give.  And, when I finally let my mind be quiet, I heard I want all of you.

I want all of you.

Really, God?  Really?

Yes. All of you.

You don’t want to know my response, but I’m going to tell you anyway.


Yep.  I suppose that it isn't something that you are supposed to say to God, but I did.


Whiney, wallowing-in-self-pity me said that.  And, what’s weird, I felt better.  Don’t think that’s supposed to happen.  Nope.

I went about the rest of the weekend doing what I could.  I finished the garden, and it looks lovely if I do say so myself.  My sister and niece came to spend the night with us while BIL worked a late shift.  Dad and BIL came over Sunday afternoon and we celebrated Father’s Day with a really great dinner and dessert.

After everyone left but before we had things cleaned up, the phone rang.  Fr. Ed was in the area, could he stop by for a visit?  Of course!  I’ve written about him before.  He is one of those incredibly brilliant people who just make your head spin trying to keep up with what he is saying.

During the course of our visit I told him about Saturday.  Well, I told him about most of it.  I might have left out the F.U. part.

His response was simple.  Our “everything” we bring to God is who we are at that moment.  Broken, overwhelmed, imperfect people.  We give Him that.

We work on getting better.  We work on becoming more whole, fully formed people.  Until then, we bring to Him what we are at that very moment.  Nothing more, but nothing less.

Suddenly, everything I had thought about earlier in the week made much more sense.  More on that later.


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Wonder Doubled: The Philosophy of Math

We have a new post up at the USCCB website For Your Marriage.

Timothy: Much to my surprise, I find that I like hummus. My doctor recently told me to stop eating like an NFL lineman and to start eating more like a quarterback. So, among other things, I “bagged” the potato chips.

Donna: Uh, I’m rolling my eyes here.

Timothy: Anyway, now I snack on a few pita chips dipped in red pepper hummus – when we have hummus, that is.

You can read the whole article here.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

The lady and the clock

Earlier this week I stopped at the pharmacy of a local grocery store.  I was the first person in line behind an elderly woman being helped at the counter.

The pharmacy employee retrieved the woman’s medications and told her the cost.  The woman then proceeded to pull her checkbook out of her purse and very slowly, very precisely, write the document.

As she was writing I caught sight of a clock on the wall across the way.  It was one of those big face clocks with the second hand that, if you are close enough, you can hear.  Tick.  Tick.  Tick.

Waiting, I felt like moments of my life were draining away.  It had been a trying day, to say the least, and this delay was just one more thing added to the heap of unpleasantness.  I closed my eyes for a moment and took a deep breath.

As with anything medical these day, the pharmacy employee asked the woman to verify her birthday.  I didn’t hear all of it, but I did hear the year.


I looked at the woman again.  She was impeccably dressed in a black pantsuit and blouse and wore low heels.  Her salt and pepper hair was pulled back in a bun at the nape of her neck.  A wooden cane, rather old fashioned looking, hung on the counter next to her.  She finished her transaction and walked away.  She wasn’t quick but she moved with purpose, with elegance. 

I moved up to the counter for my turn.  The employee made a comment regarding the woman and how she hoped to be doing as well at that age.  I had to agree.

As I left the store, I saw the woman once more.  She was sitting on a bench, waiting for her ride I suppose.  There was a grace and a peace about her as she sat there, her posture perfect and her eyes bright.  She didn’t seem to be impatient or bothered by waiting. 

Suddenly she wasn’t just a woman.  She was a lady.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Learning the value of a GYM membership

After work one day last week Himself and I went up to my sister’s house to help her with our niece, Sara, while BIL was working some horribly long hours.  At the moment Sis is having a hard time moving.  Last December, a little before Christmas, she had a bad cold.  While holding Sara she starting coughing violently, and apparently slipped a disk in her lower back.

Over the last few months, instead of getting better, her back has gotten progressively worse.  Nothing - no pills, shots, therapy, acupuncture - seems to be helping.  As she was lying on the floor, in the only somewhat comfortable position she can find, she chided me about getting into shape.  She knows that I have struggled with back issues in the past and the extra weight I carry on my frame isn’t helping.

This morning, a routine annual test revealed some suspicious results.  Although it has a less than two percent chance of amounting to anything, it was still unnerving. 

The test results combined with my sister’s warnings reminded me that I really need to take better care of myself, as this is the one and only body God gave to me.   One of the ways, lately, that has been happening, at least on a small scale, is our GYM membership. 

I wish I could say I was clever enough to come up with the GYM acronym, but the credit belongs to the authors at Old World Garden Farms.  GYM stands for Garden and Yard Maintenance.  We have many opportunities to “hit” the GYM, both with the large vegetable garden we planted and with our numerous flower gardens. 

On Saturday I spent hours at the GYM planting and weeding and mulching.  It was physically tiring but mentally and emotionally refreshing.  Did you know that the Holly bushes in the back that we thought the weather and the deer had destroyed are growing beautifully?  We had all but given up on them.  They have so much new growth on them they just might survive after all.   I also discovered that there is volunteer Cilantro growing in the berry garden.   The bean seeds I planted are beginning to germinate and peek through the soil. 

While the GYM keeps my muscles moving it also quiets my mind.  I am learning there is not only beauty in the flowers we plant but in the dirt in which they grow.  The big, fat earth worms remind me that the earth is full of life.  The little toad hopping out of the Holly bushes both surprised and delighted me.  He reminded me of one of the first walks Himself and I took when we started dating. 

And, if moving the muscles and quieting the mind isn’t enough, some of our GYM workouts will result in nourishment for our bodies.  Berries and beans, tomatoes and peppers, potatoes and onions will soon grace our dining table.  This is, they will if they actually make it into the house.  We tend to sit outside and eat the berries we just picked!

I am wondering what I am doing here writing this.  I really should be home at the GYM!


Sunday, June 8, 2014

I need to tell you something

He don't got a belly button

Since we don't have kids we don't often get the chance to see kids' movies and television.  But, trying to be a good Godmother to my niece, Sara, her Easter basket always has to have something besides candy.  I remembered that friends of ours used to have Veggie Tales videos for their many kids to watch.  So down to the Christian bookstore I went and, two DVDs later, Sara's Easter basket was complete.

What I didn't count on was just how much I was going to enjoy them.  They are funny.  If you really listen to the lyrics they are very, very clever.

And part of me wonders just what the writers were drinking when they wrote these songs!

Baby I know your eyes see right through my disguise
And no one can deny
Baby that I'm the one whose love is no surprise
And he can't tell you no lie

But there's a secret I've been hidin'
I can't keep it no more
There's this thing about himself
He's never told you before

He needs to tell you something
I don't got a belly button
(No belly button, no)
Oh, I need to tell you something
Can you figure it out
He don't got a belly button
Belly button no, oh no, no

Baby please don't squeal, just tell me how you feel
'Cause his love is for real
And if you went away, my heart would never heal
So to you he appeals

There's something missing in my middle
And it's hard to ignore
There's this thing about himself
He's never told you before

He needs to tell you something
I don't got a belly button
(No belly button, no)
Oh, I need to tell you something
Can you figure it out
He don't got a belly button
Belly button no, oh no, no


Wednesday, June 4, 2014


"There are two ways of getting home;
and one of them is to stay there."

More years ago than I care to admit I would consider a good weekend one where I was go, go, going, off to this event or that.  I was involved with a "young adults leadership training organization," the Jaycees.  We had all sorts of activities that included community service, fund raising, personal development and socials.

Big emphasis on socials.  Big.  We held parties, went to concerts and ballgames, frequented local establishments for the more than occasional "adult" beverage.  It was fun at the time, but it didn't allow for much quiet in my life.

I find now that after a week at work I crave that quiet time.  Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy an occasional concert or outing.  But, now, it is not what energizes and rejuvenates me.

Last Friday and Saturday we put in most of the vegetable garden.  There were a number of tomato and pepper plants that my dad was starting for us and he brought them over on Sunday when he came for dinner.  Monday was a crazy day at work, the fallout from the previous week's implementation was still apparent.  When I got home I changed into my grubbies and headed out to the garden.  What joy it was to play in the dirt and give those plants a new home!

Afterwards, we sat under the Linden tree, drank our lemonade, and watched as the sprinkler ticked away watering our newly placed plants.

We didn't talk about much, if anything.  We just enjoyed what was around us.

And it was good.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

First Photo - June

To repeat last month's opening line - Aaah!  What a difference a month makes! 
The leaves on the trees have really filled out and our lovely Linden tree is providing us with much appreciated shade.  We set up our chairs under the tree this past Friday when we started working on the vegetable garden.  (you can see a bit of the garden fence peeking in on the left-most side of the pic) 
Under that tree is such a great place to watch the world go by or nothing at all.  We sat yesterday evening in the middle of planting to gather our thoughts and sort out our plans for what was going where in the garden.  Jack has been enjoying supervising our work from there as well.